Return to Human Space Flight home page

Mission Control
Answers Your Questions

From: Arne Haaland, of Oslo Oslo
To: Wayne Hale, lead flight director

Question: Hello, When you are communicating with the shuttle I guess you use a disc antenna. My question is as follows: When the shuttle move is the antennas on the ground following the shuttle, or is the antenna on the shuttle moving to 'hit' the antenna on the ground? Thanks Arne Haaland

Answer: Great question Arne,
The shuttle has two different types of antennas. The 4 S Band antennas are stationary. Software on the shuttle determines which antenna should be used to communicate with either the tracking and data relay satellites(TDRS) or ground sites. The other antenna is a steerable dish antenna called the Ku Band antenna. It is pointed by the same software that determines which S Band antenna to use but can only be used with TDRS. The TDRS will point its antennas at the shuttle and the shuttle will point it's antennas at the satellite. If we are using a ground site to communicate with the shuttle, the ground site will point their steerable antennas at the shuttle and track it across the sky until it can no longer see the shuttle.

Steve Sides - Planning INCO

View list of answered questions or ask MCC your own Question.

Curator: Kim Dismukes | Responsible NASA Official: John Ira Petty | Updated: 04/07/2002
Web Accessibility and Policy Notices